Syeda F on 10 July 2021

Well I think I have to record what is happening right now. Pretty much since my last diary entry things have just ticked along. I work for the NHS so got double jabbed early on, the girls eventually went back to school (in person) and we could begin to see life getting back to normal. Its been an good period without anything rocking the boat so to speak.

Now as the "full" easing of restrictions is coming to an end (and with England in a major cup final for the first time in my life to boot) things are looking much better. It really does feel like the end of the pandemic.

I know this doesn't mean things go back to the old normal. But it does feel like we can move forward without so much worry or fear as we have had for 18 months. This is a good thing for us all.

I can see the Covid figures climbing (thankfully not so much the hospitalisations or deaths) which is still a worry. And the government really need to get a grip on when people should isolate (one of my daughters has had her school holidays beginning early, the other is worried she is going to miss out on an end of year trip).

The biggest worry now is money - the ending of the £20pw UC Covid uplift. I knew this was coming so I have tried to prepare - I have reduced some of my expenditure where I could (switched to cheaper gas/electricity contract, cheaper phone contract). This has saved me £30 per month. On top of this as an NHS worker I will get a 1% pay rise. And my UC annual "rise" went up £4pcm, my CB went up by around the same. So I have almost halved the effect of the loss of the £86pcm coming to my UC. I know I am lucky because at least I am in work and can try to juggle these things to cope with it better than someone who lost their job last year and is now going to see a massive cut to their income again!

The government just doesn't seem to realise that their "austerity" measures in the last few years massively reduced the value of UC when it was introduced. It comes to something when you have the architect of UC and great defender of austerity, Iain Duncan Smith, imploring the government not to get rid of the uplift.

I know being on UC means you have to tighten your belt, look to ways to cut your spending. I am virtually at my end of that and struggling to think of other ways to achieve this. All it takes is for one thing to push you back in to debt. In my case it is my glasses. I work on a computer all day and use professional books too, so am constantly switching between long and short sight. I know my eyes are suffering so I got my first eye-test in 3 years. Work pays for it through expenses, and the optician has said I need glasses to work on a computer so I get an extra £60 from work towards my new pair. I didn't go designer, but I need special lenses, so I am still £200 worse-off.

I didn't manage to budget for that. But at least I am getting them before the uplift goes.

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